CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern topped visiting Savannah State on Wednesday night at the CSU Ballpark as the Buccaneers held off the Tigers, 7-5.
Daniel Johnson (1-0) picked up the win in an extended relief appearance on Wednesday evening. The junior left-hander recorded five strikeouts in 2.1 innings of action on his way to quelling a Savannah State early rally. Ryan Stoudemire and Eddie Hiott pitched the Bucs out of jams before Cody Smith recorded his sixth save to close out the contest.
Savannah State's Shawn Sausville (0-2) suffered the loss after going 1.2 innings. The right-hander allowed three hits and four unearned runs in taking the loss.
Charleston Southern took the early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first as CSU took advantage of an early SSU error. Chris Singleton beat out a grounder to second base with a low throw pulling the first baseman off the bag. The play extended the inning and put the Bucs on the board as Jason Miller scored on a wild pitch on the following pitch. Michael Sconzo added a RBI single in the frame, while Dan Vaughan connected on a two-run single to add to the CSU lead.
Savannah State answered in the top of the third as Kyle Gerdts brought home Daryl Harper with a two-out RBI single to put their first run on the board. After Gerdts stole second, Bryce Luken followed with a bouncing single back up the middle to bring him home and cut the CSU lead down to two.
Heady base-running by Jason Miller added to the Bucs lead in the bottom of the fifth. Miller reached on a line drive single up the middle. After watching the first pitch go by, Miller stole second and then swiped third on back-to-back pitches to put himself in scoring position. Brandon Gragilla brought him across with a sacrifice fly to give CSU the 5-2 lead.
Ryan Stoudemire pitched the Bucs out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth with a strikeout to end the Savannah State threat.
The Bucs used the momentum to add to their lead in the sixth. Sconzo led off the inning with a base hit back up the middle. A deep grounder in the hole at shortstop off of Vesnesky's bat put two on. Sconzo came around to score on a botched play on Vaughan's sacrifice bunt.
Turner Davis narrowed the CSU lead all the way down to one in the top of the eighth with a three-run home run just to the left of the scoreboard in left field. He drove in Marcus Mitchell and Jalen Atterbury, who previously had reached on back-to-back hit by pitches.
Aaron Miller provided some insurance for the Bucs in the bottom of the eighth. After Vesnesky reached on a dropped throw by the first baseman, Miller roped a double into left field corner bringing Vesnesky around the horn and ahead of the throw to give CSU the 7-5 lead.
Smith was aided by a double play in the top of the ninth before retiring the final batter on strikes to record his sixth save of the season.
The Bucs hit the road this weekend for a three-game series at Campbell starting on Friday night in Perry Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.